Scottish Delights series – Tattie Scones

IMG_20160315_175218174Hello y’all! Today we’re gonna talk about food…one of my favorite subjects.

One of the most common conversations we’ve had with folks since we’ve announced that we’re going to Scotland as missionaries is about the food there. Do we like British food? What foods do they eat? Does every meal have haggis and black pudding with it? Do they only have fish and chip shops, or other kinds of restaurants? How will we live without burgers and pizza and Krispy Kreme? Okay, maybe that last question is more from my own mind than actual conversations, but it is certainly something to think about because they don’t have Five Guys, or Dominoes, or Krispy Kreme…but I’m sure we’ll survive this tragedy.  At least my cholesterol will anyway, my taste buds might have something different to say about the matter.

Anyway, I’m hoping to use the Scottish Delights series of posts to highlight some of the fabulous foods of Scotland – how you’d eat them there, and how we as ‘Merican’s adapt them for eatin’ here. Today I’m going to talk about one of the most commonly eaten foods called tattie scones. These little gems are not at all like the scones we think of. They are not a fluffy, layered, biscuit-y type of bread, but more like a rolled dumpling that is cooked on a griddle, instead of boiled in your stew. They are super easy to make and require just a couple of ingredients, all of which can be found in the American pantry; and they are extremely versatile. Oh, and I want to say that you can also make this recipe with leftover mashed taters from a previous meal, which is a great way to change things up in your leftover rotation.

In Scotland, tattie scones are eaten at just about every traditional home-cooked meal. They are super inexpensive in the grocery store, which is why they’re regularly consumed. Lots of folks eat them for breakfast, either as a part of their fry-up (I will most definitely do a post on that beautifully delicious cardiac arrest) or with butter and jam, like we’d eat toast here. For elevensies or luncheon, they’ll eat them with cheese, coleslaw, tuna or egg salad, or a green salad.  With their afternoon tea, they’ll typically eat them with just butter, or maybe a thin slice of cucumber or smoked salmon on top, or as a sweet treat with either jam or lemon curd. And for dinner, tattie scones might be covered in gravy, similar to a Yorkshire pudding, or eaten with beans and/or fried eggs. They really are a versatile little carbohydrate.

Like all foods, I’ve seen tons of different variations in the dough recipe – some sweet and some savory; using all kinds of added ingredients, like sautéed leeks or caramelized onions, various herb combinations, cream cheese, even sugar, honey, or golden syrup, depending on what kind of meal you plan to enjoy these little delights with. For us, we just like to make them in the basic fashion so we can eat them however we decide. In fact, I made a batch of these up last night for our dinner and it was a very tasty treat, for sure. So without further ado let me share our recipe with you and once you’ve made them you can give us your feedback.

Tattie Scones – yield approximately 15 scones of assorted sizes

5 – 6 medium red potatoes, peeled and cubed

4 cups water

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (adjust up or down depending on the consistency of your dough)

5 Tbsp. salted butter

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Before you begin, dig out your electric griddle pan from the bottom of your cupboard and preheat it to 425 degrees. Or, if you don’t have an electric griddle pan you can use a range-top griddle over medium heat, or even a cast-iron or non-stick skillet, preheated over medium heat to hot, but not smoking.

In a medium pot cook potatoes in unsalted water, until fork tender. Drain and cool for about 10 minutes. You don’t want to give yourself second degree burns once you start kneading the dough.

IMG_20160315_174049769In a large mixing bowl, mash taters with butter and salt and pepper – I use a fork to do this, but you can use your electric mixer if you’d like. You want the taters to be smooth, but a few small lumps are okay. Make sure you taste your taters to see if they have enough salt on them. Do not add any milk or cream to your taters (like we American’s love to do!) or they will be too wet and you’ll have to use a lot more flour to stiffen them up and make the dough. Don’t ask me how I know this. J

If you’re using leftover mashed taters you can obviously skip these first two steps and just bring your leftover taters to room temperature.

Once your taters are mashed and salted and peppered to your taste preference add about ¾ cup of flour to the mixing bowl and begin to work the flour into the tater mixture. This is why I like to use a fork because the mixer paddles just puff flour all over my counter, but you do it however you’re most comfortable with. The tater mixture should start to get thick, dryish, and form little balls – if the mixture is still too wet, add in more flour a ¼ cup at a time until the dough begins to come together as described.

IMG_20160315_174458574On a clean surface or mat, place about ¾ c. more of flour in a lose pile – you don’t want to spread it all over the surface yet – and then place your tater mixture on top of the flour. You want to knead the flour into the tater dough until it looks similar to bread or dumpling dough. You might have to add more flour to your mixture, but do this a little at a time so you don’t over flour it and then end up with a crumbly, dry mess. You’re looking for a smooth texture, not sticky, and not crumbly. In the for-what-it’s-worth department, I sometimes use a total amount of 1 ½ cups of flour and sometimes I use over 2 cups or more flour, it all depends on my taters, so just take your time with this. You’ll know when the dough is right because it won’t stick to your fingers or the board, and it’ll be smooth and pliable but not overly stiff and dry.

IMG_20160315_174700031Once your dough is where you want it to be texture-wise, sprinkle flour lightly over the surface of your board or mat and roll the dough with a floured rolling pin until it’s about ½ inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter, pizza roller, or a sharp knife, cut the dough into whatever shapes you want. I prefer a pizza roller and just cut into rectangles, but this is really a personal preference. If I was serving these at a party or for a dinner I’d use a round biscuit cutter so they’d all be even and pretty, but for every day I don’t care what they look like, but you cut them how you want them. I wouldn’t recommend making them larger than 3” circles, or 2”x4” rectangles, just for cooking purposes.

IMG_20160315_174902472Lightly spray your pre-heated griddle or skillet with non-stick cooking spray and lay on your dough. Don’t crowd the griddle or they will take forever to cook, plus it’ll be hard to flip them…again, don’t ask me how I know this.

IMG_20160315_175202760You want to cook the dough until it has browned on the bottom, then flip and cook the other side the same way. When we’re making a big batch of these to eat right away we place them on a baking sheet in a pre-warmed oven until they’re all cooked, but if we’re going to be freezing them we just lay them out on a baking sheet in a single layer to cool.

Once all the scones are cooked it’s now time to decide how you’re going to enjoy them. Our two favorite ways are savory with melted cheese and a dollop of coleslaw, or sweet with butter and jam. My recommendation is to try them the first time warm from the griddle with butter and jam or honey, just so you can experience the absolute pure yumminess of a freshly made tattie scone, but you can use them in just about any way you see fit. If you’re looking for a quick meal, top them with shredded cheese, melt it under the broiler and eat them with a chef salad. You can also use them as mini-pizzas and top with pizza sauce, a few toppings of your choice if you desire, and shredded mozzarella cheese – broil them up and enjoy. Or add them to your Sunday roast dinner instead of yeast rolls – they’ll make awesome bases for a leftover meal of hot beef and gravy. Oh, so many eating options. I promise you, these little scones will change your life if you just give them a try.